October 2017 Web Exclusive: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer typically forms in the breast tissue made of milk production glands, called lobules, or in the ducts that connect the lobules to the nipple.
What Are the Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
Often, when the tumor is small and most easily treated, there are no symptoms. This is why frequent screening is crucial for early detection. The most common sign is a painless lump in the breast or underarm, but sometimes the cancer can spread to the underarm lymph nodes, causing swelling, even before the original tumor is large enough to be felt. Less common symptoms include: breast pain or heaviness; changes in the breast size or shape; changes in breast swelling; thickening or redness; dimpling or puckering of the breast skin; an inverted nipple; discharge from the nipple; and scaly, red or swollen skin on the breast, nipple or areola.
How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
Breast cancer can be detected in a routine screening examination before any symptoms develop. In some cases, masses found in mammograms turn out to be benign, but it is still vital to get these checked periodically and monitor changes. When cancer is suspected, tissue analysis is necessary for diagnosis.
What are the Types of Breast Cancer?
–Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) refers to a condition where abnormal cells replace epithelial cells that line the breast ducts, causing expansion of ducts and lobules. It is considered the earliest form of breast cancer.
–Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) refers to abnormal cells growing in the interior breast tissue causing only some of the lobules to expand.
This means that the cancer has broken through the ducts or glands in which it originated and has continued to grow into the surrounding breast tissue.
–Luminal A (HR+/HER2-) tend to be slow growing and less aggressive.
–Triple Negative (HR-/HER2-) is most common in premenopausal woman and those with the BRCA1 gene mutation.
–Luminal B (HR+/HER2+) tend to be higher grade and more aggressive than Luminal A.
–HER2-enriched (HR-/HER2+) tend to grow and spread rapidly and aggressively; however, recent widespread use of target HER2+ treatments has improved outcomes for these patients.
With ongoing and vigorous research, new and promising results are released at a consistent rate. Here are just a few of the latest developments:
For more information and further resources for survivors and Breast Cancer awareness, visit the following links.
Click through for a roundup of brands and products donating proceeds in support of breast and other cancer related charities and organizations.